UK Foreign Secretary William Hague
Photo: EPA
French President Francois Hollande
Photo: AFP
Photo: Reuters
Foreign Minister Bob Carr
Photo: Reuters

Nations rush to expel Syrian envoys

France, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia and Canada cite brutal carnage in Houla as reason for harsh step; emissaries to be given customary time period to leave

Western nations are stepping up pressure on Syria: Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada and Australia announced Tuesday that they were expelling Syrian diplomats of various ranks following the brutal massacre in Houla over the weekend.  


The coordinated international move came as Arab League envoy Kofi Annan met the Syrian president, Bashar Assad, in Damascus. Annan reportedly "conveyed the grave concern of the international community about the violence in Syria" and the prospects for the implementation of his apparently failing six-point plan.


Related stories:


London's Foreign Ministry said that the UK was expelling three Syrian diplomats over the deaths of 108 civilians in the embattled Homs province. 


Foreign Secretary William Hague said that while there was "no unanimity on the United Nations Security Council for a military intervention, the international pressure on the regime of Syrian would continue to be increased."


Paris said it was expelling the Syrian ambassador, as means of increasing pressure on Damascus, amid the mounting violence by government forces against civilians and opposition members.


גופות הילדים שנטבחו בסוריה. "הוצאו להורג"  (צילום: רויטרס) 

Bodies of some of the children massacred in Houla. (Photo: Reuters) 


Almost simultaneously, Berlin, Madrid and Rome announced that they, too, were expeling the Syrian ambassadors.


Canada joined the diplomatic protest and announced that it was expelling the three remaining Syrian diplomats stationed in Ottawa. 


Australia also expelled two Syrian diplomats, including the chief of the Syrian mission, on Tuesday and said it expected other countries to take similar action as part of an international response to the Houla massacre.


New pressure tactics

French President Francois Hollande said the move was coordinated in high-level discussions with British Prime Minister David Cameron and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.


"We decided on a certain number of ... pressure tactics to apply to Syria, including the expulsion." He said.


The UN Security Council on Monday has condemned the Houla massacre.


The aftermath of the Houla massacre. (Photo: Reuters)


Hollande also said that Paris would host a Friends of Syria meeting in early July in hope of devising a diplomatic solution to the conflict.


Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said that the trio – a charge d'affaires and two other officials – were informed of the decision.


"We want to say unequivocally that this is completely unacceptable... and we want to condemn these actions," he said.


Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said Australia would expel Syria's charge d'affaires, Jawdat Ali, and one other diplomat, who have been told they must leave the country within 72 hours.


"The Syrian charge has again been advised to convey a clear message to Damascus that Australians are appalled by this massacre and we will pursue a unified international response to hold those responsible to account," Carr said.


"This is the most effective way we've got of sending a message of revulsion of what has happened in Syria," Carr told Australia's ABC News.


In a statement following Friday's massacre, Carr called the killings a "hideous and brutal crime" and said Australia would not engage with the Syrian government unless it abides by a UN ceasefire plan.


Reuters contributed to this report



  • Receive Ynetnews updates directly to your desktop


(AP and Reuters)


פרסום ראשון: 05.29.12, 13:17
 new comment
This will delete your current comment